What drew you to Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbaai Dobaara? Was the very incentive of playing a 80's Don good enough for you?
What I liked about Shoaib (his character) is the fact that he wanted something that he knew he couldn't have. Now that is something that killed him inside more than any bullet wound ever could. See, people think that men fight only for money and power. However this man fights for his 'Better Half', the only thing in the world that completes him. He has everything but he doesn't have his 'True Love'. (Pauses)
Like I have always said, even in the most perfect of worlds, there is no life without Love! So to experience one of the most powerful villains known to exist and to fall at the mercy of a broken heart took no convincing whatsoever. It took a positive leap of faith followed by a lot of deep emotional involvement.
This sounds quite profound for a film which has gangsters filling up frames.
Well, that's because the film gets deep down and personal on another level. It shows you the side of a man that even most wives would never get to see in the eyes of their husbands. Shoaib has a side that is beyond mean. I enjoyed being a Devil in a good suit with extreme moral issues (winks). No matter what this film's destiny may be, it will always remain very dear to me from all aspects, whether as an actor, as a fan of Milan's work or playing one of my favourite roles to date.
Having an opportunity to work with Milan is not an honour, it's more than that. This has been an experience like no other! He doesn't just feed you his ideas; he oozes with the life of his characters. He doesn't fall in love with his work; he falls in love with the actors he entrusts to take his imagination. He doesn't just do justice to them; he also brings the idea of his fascinating screenplay into 'reel life'. None of us have followed our instincts; we have only followed our director. We have spent days and nights for months to join forces and create a complete package.
Milan is not only great at what he does, he has played his success so well. Many others that I know wouldn't have stayed so humble with the track record that this man holds. He may have the legs of a giraffe but he has the gifted instincts of a lion. Not for one second during our shoot have I felt insecure about any decision taken. I have trust issues and yet I trust this man with a loaded gun to my head!
You have also teamed up with Ekta Kapoor for the first time ever. To have a female for a producer was there any difference in the approach that you saw towards the film being made?
She is a specimen of a woman like I have never seen before. She swallows pressure like most people swallow their coffee – hot & instantly. She has done her family proud. Her decisions, her fighting spirit and her ability to stand strong amongst the shoulders of great men with such humility is endearing indeed. Her films are her babies and we all know; only a woman knows how to really nurture her babies!
She is also said to be quite passionate about the films that she eventually green lights.
Well, the amount of passion that has gone into this project is just so inspiring. When I agreed to become an 80's don, I knew that this wasn't going to be your average Saturday afternoon movie; this was going to be a moment in time for me. A 'Once Upon A Time' moment indeed – Once told never forgotten (smiles).
[To be continued in Part II]